ORLANDO - Talk around Clemson's camp this week has been about defending
Kliff Kingsbury, the record-setting Texas Tech quarterback, in Monday's Mazda
Conventional wisdom says that the Tigers best shot at slowing the
senior will come if they can get pressure on Kingsbury with the front
allowing seven to drop in coverage. Success in that area also would
Clemson the luxury of blitzing its linebackers when it wishes, rather
out of necessity.
But head coach Tommy Bowden warned Saturday about the danger of his
line thinking of nothing but rushing the passer. The Red Raiders may
often, but when they do they're usually successful.
"They do have a nice little running game where if you're rushing
your only priority is pressuring the passer, they do have some things
running game (that can hurt you)," Bowden said.
Most, if not all of Tech's running game comes in the form of freshman
receiver-turned tailback Taurean Henderson.
The 5-foot-9, 187-pound tailback gained 733 yards on just 143 attempts
season, an average of 5.1 yards per carry. Henderson also is a threat
catch the ball out of the backfield, hauling down 90 receptions for 577
Henderson scored 11 touchdowns in the regular season, six rushing and
Earlier in the week senior rover Altroy Bodrick publicly stated he did
plan on losing the final game of his senior season, and if approached
to game day he might feel good enough to make a full prediction.
Asked about it Saturday, Bodrick gave a somewhat diplomatic response.
"If we're ahead at halftime, and they haven't scored 21 points, then
win the game," he said.
And if Tech has scored 21 points?
"Then it's going to be a shootout, and our chances of winning are
Bowden's father's first bowl victory as a head coach came in the
Bowl during his days at West Virginia. Tommy was then a fifth-year
wide receiver for Bobby's Mountaineers.
Asked if he had talked to his father about a Bowden returning to the
Tangerine Bowl in 2002, Tommy laughed.
"He's incognito," Bowden. "He sees my cell phone number pop up, he
Bobby Bowden, of course, currently is embroiled in a controversy at
State in which one of his former players - quarterback Adrian McPherson
the focus of a gambling investigation.
- After hearing about Clemson's streak of bowl futility which began in
1990s - and included two losses of his own - Bowden's Tigers broke the
pattern a year ago with a victory over Louisiana Tech in the
Now he's ready to start a streak of his own.
"If you don't win one for eight years, then you win one, you'd like to
another one to get a streak going the other way," he said.
- Curfew for Clemson's players is getting earlier.
After being set at 1 a.m. for most of the trip, it was moved midnight
Saturday and 11 p.m. tonight, the usual time the day before a game.